How Is It Made? A Closer Look At Silver

Wed 7 April 2010

Dr Helen Clifford

Dr Helen Clifford completed her doctorate at the Royal College of Art, learning the basics of the craft in the College Studios. She is now a freelance researcher, writer, and curator, specialising in 17th and 18th century decorative art and contemporary silver. She is a Freeman of the Goldsmiths’ Company, Curator of the Swaledale Museum in Reeth, and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.

Goldsmithing dates back to the third millennium BC, and most silver is made in the same way as it was in medieval times. Helen’s wealth of knowledge about antique and contemporary silver (and gold!) enabled us to understand more of the craftsmanship and technique involved in working with these precious metals. The lecture covered the basic processes of making and decorating silver, explaining the goldsmith’s workshop, techniques, and tools. It highlighted both the changes and continuities in one of the oldest and most revered of our crafts.


Suggested Reading

A Treasured Inheritance: 600 Years of Oxford College Silver by Helen Clifford, Ashmolean Museum (2004)

Silver by Phillipa Glanville, V & A Publications (1997)

Starting to collect Antique Silver by Ian Pickford, Antique Collectors Club Ltd (1999)


Exhibitions and Links

V & A Silver Collection

Ashmolean Museum Silver Collection